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This exhibition features never-before-seen footage of bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Beastie Boys taking to Australian stages.
By Ben Hansen
September 01, 2022
By Ben Hansen
September 01, 2022

The Powerhouse Museum's new exhibition UNPOPULAR is diving back into a deep musical archive to unveil never-before-seen photographs and footage of legendary and beloved musicians taking to Australian stages. The exhibition is based on more than 200 pieces from music entrepreneur Stephen 'Pav' Pavlovic's extensive archive including photographs, videos, posters, setlists and tour itineraries.

Pavlovic was involved in the touring of many decade-defining artists in the 1990s including Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Beck, Bikini Kill, Foo Fighters and Pavement. With the help of the Powerhouse Museum and renowned designer Alice Babidge, Pavlovic has curated an exhibition that captures this time in Australia's musical history through a wide array of archival footage and memorabilia.

Unpopular exhibition view featuring Video, No Alternative Girls, directed by Tamra Davis, 1994. Courtesy of Tamra Davis, credit Zan Wimberley

Highlights of the exhibition include live footage from Nirvana's first and only tour of Australia, Kurt Cobain's Martin Guitar that was used during Nirvana's MTV Unplugged set (the world's most expensive guitar), unheard musical demos and a gallery of photographs from Pavlovic's influential and groundbreaking Summersault festival that toured around Australia in the 90s.

Accompanying these pieces will be a rich tapestry of storytelling and interviews Pavolvic has conducted with the likes of Dave Grohl, Fugazi's Ian MacKaye, Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon that discuss the bands' experiences touring Australia.

"We came down here because the opportunity was beyond imaginable in a way… it was, oh my god, now we're gonna go to the other side of the hemisphere to play music. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would be possible," Dave Grohl discusses.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a series of Powerhouse Late sessions ranging from a film program featuring documentaries on Kurt Cobain and Dinosaur Jr a music photography masterclass with Sophie Howarth who was behind the camera for many of the exhibition's snaps and analog art workshops with poster designers Ben Brown and Paul Curtis.

Unpopular exhibition view featuring Sonic Youth, 'A Thousand Leaves Tour', The Metro (Sydney), artwork by Cathie Glassby, 1997 Image: Zan Wimberley

Images: Zan Wimberley

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